Now that the initial shock of the Covid-19 crisis has passed a lot of operators of tour, activity, and attraction businesses are wondering what they can do while shut down. It probably feels like your whole lives are on pause and your businesses are in limbo.
We know that Covid-19 is presenting a challenge to your business unlike anything we’ve seen before and as such, we need to take action to ride out the worst part of this pandemic, sustain our businesses and then grow once we come out the other side.
Based on hard data I can confidently say that the #1 strategy that all tours, activities and attractions need to focus on right now in marketing your business is in gaining earned media.
Remind your customers of their experience and gain customer advocacy
If you need to choose one marketing priority to help your business in this challenging time, when the skepticism of experiential consumers towards any paid or owned media is at an all-time high, it is to increase the amount of the most trusted marketing media available to any marketer; earned media. Earned media includes word-of-mouth, referral marketing, advocate marketing, user generated content (UGC), social sharing, publicity, and online reviews. Earned media is widely accepted as the most trusted form of media, the most cost effective and the most likely to influence a purchase decision. Our data also demonstrates that the most immediate benefit to businesses who increase earned media, is in driving local or regional business growth, which will be critically important to influence as soon as social distancing ends.
Focus on your guest relationships
How do you motivate your guests to generate content at this time and why is it valuable? In the USA right now Internet usage is up 18%, people across states and countries are told to stay home and self isolate and there's primarily only one message dominating all media which we need to compete with; anything to do with Covid-19. I believe everyone is craving a different message, a positive message and a message that reminds us of better, social time with people we care about. By focusing on the shared stories and memories between your business and your guests, that all-important guest relationship, guests will naturally share memories of your business in a time when everyone needs a reminder that better times are ahead. They will also look ahead and dream of new experiences that will include your business.
An authentic call to action
A first simple step that any operator can take is to contact your guests and simply thank them for their patronage and ask to share a happy memory. This trusted message and the outcome of shared customer experiences is important in any market condition, but in the face of the current crisis, it's imperative that your business succeeds in increasing user generated content and word of mouth results.
Think about this like your own version of Google Photos Rediscover This Day or Facebook Memories. The purpose is to get your guests to remember the great experience they had with you and the outcome is that many past guests will share that with others. Even if guests don’t share, you will have brought back a happy memory for them while they are also struggling with the current situation.
This type of user generated content can also give you control over getting your message to the right audience. By spending the time to nurture your guest relationships, with special focus on local or regional guests, you can also influence the marketing benefit domestically, which will be very important in your recovery.
You need your customers to advocate for your business more than ever before.
Memories with photos are even better
Even if you haven’t had an ongoing program of guest photos, if you've ever taken photos of your guests, now is your opportunity to use these photos and re-engage with past guests. By taking the time to remind guests of a meaningful life experience, with a memory captured in a photo, with an authentic message of thanks and a call to action to share a memory, you will see your results multiply by 200%-300%
We recommend that you create and deliver a campaign to all past guests, which includes their photo memories, with a simple thank you and call to action to relive a worthwhile memory and to share their photos once again. The outcome will lead to more UGC and awareness for your brand with the most trusted endorsement, because the message is coming from your customers.
For Abyss Scuba Diving in Sydney Australia the results speak for themselves. They re-marketed to all of their past guests that visited over the last 3 years and included a personalized photo memory. At the same time they included a call to action that encouraged guests to share, with a contest to win a free trip. Not only did their email campaign receive over 90%+ open rates and 10%+ click through rates, but astonishingly 16% of their past customers shared and generated at least one referral lead. This measurable earned media is far more valuable and effective than any message, any marketer can create, through any owned or paid media. Feel free to contact us to find out more about what other Fotaflo clients are doing and for advice on how to do this for your business. Or create your own new ways to encourage your guests to return to view and share their photos.Even though we believe an authentic thank you and encouragement to share a memory with you is suffice, we welcome your creativity to promote sharing, or any calls to action that can benefit your business. For instance, you may want to also promote:
- purchasing gift cards
- future discounted trips
- private trips
- or simply give someone a reason to look ahead to the summer
Finally...Thank you for reading this through. Regardless of when you last sent photos, whether you use a platform like Fotaflo, or whether or not you initiate this campaign, your customers are craving a new message and are eager to relive meaningful experiences from the past right now while they are in isolation. Let’s give all of your past customers a reason to find joy from amazing past experiences at your business and give them something to look forward to when this is over.